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Soccer-Luis Enrique picked to restore Barcelona to top

Reuters

* Barca to start anew in goal with Ter Stegen signing

* Rafinha and Deulofeu to return after being on loan (Adds detail, quotes)

By Tim Hanlon

May 19 (Reuters) - Former midfielder Luis Enrique has signed a two-year deal to coach Barcelona, the La Liga club said on Monday.

The 44-year-old replaces Gerardo Martino, who stepped down on Saturday after one season in charge having failed to win a major trophy.

"Luis Enrique has been chosen as the new first team trainer having been given the backing of sports director Andoni Zubizarreta," Barca said in a statement.

"Luis Enrique will sign a contract with FC Barcelona for the next two seasons."

Barcelona also confirmed the signing of goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen from Borussia Moenchengladbach and the return of Rafa Alcantara "Rafinha" and Gerard Deulofeu who have been out on loan at Celta Vigo and Everton respectively.

The highly-rated Ter Stegen has been strongly linked to Barca for most of the season following the decision of Victor Valdes to quit the club.

Barcelona will start afresh at the back with the club confirming that keeper Jose Manuel Pinto's contract, which ran until the end of this season, will not be renewed.

"The board of directors would like to thank the professionalism and dedication of Jose Manuel Pinto during his years at the club," the statement said.

Luis Enrique, a former Spain international who also played for Real Madrid, announced he was leaving Celta on May 16 despite having a year left to run on his contract.

He took over from Pep Guardiola as coach of Barca's B team in 2008 before a brief and troubled stint at Serie A club AS Roma.

Celta hired him to replace Abel Resino in June last year and the Galician club have impressed under Luis Enrique, playing some of the most attractive football in Spain.

He is seen as a Barca insider who will remain true to the club's possession-based style with its focus on relentless attack.

His first task will be to ensure the squad, which has looked limited at times this season, is further strengthened and they will look to bring in new faces along with Ter Stegen, Rafinha and Deulofeu.

At least one central defender and possibly a tall centre forward who can cause problems at crosses and attacking set pieces are on their shopping list.

Martino resigned on Saturday after a his Barcelona side were held 1-1 at the Nou Camp by Atletico Madrid, who clinched the La Liga title.

The Argentine leaves midway through a two-year contract after Barca ended the season without major silverware for the first time in six years. (Editing by Pritha Sarkar/Rex Gowar)

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